At the Global Education Summit: Free SHS to produce educated workforce …for Ghana’s future devt – President

The vision of a prosperous and progressive future for Ghana is without any doubt, as more children are now getting the opportunity to go to school, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.

According to the President, the state-sponsored high school education introduced by his administration, which has increased enrollment figures significantly, was aimed at developing a well educated workforce for the future.

President Akufo-Addo believes that developing an educated workforce is the surest path to real prosperity and growth and pledged the government’s commitment to ensuring that more children get access to higher education.

Speaking at the Global Education Summit, co-hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, in London, on Thursday, President Akufo-Addo noted that the goal of countries in Africa was to move away from being mere producers and exporters of raw materials to valued added economies.

That, the President said, was not going to be possible if Africa did not have an educated workforce.

“It, therefore, requires an investment that we have to make to ensure that not just as many, but also all our children have the opportunity to go to school right from kindergarten, through primary, through secondary, and through tertiary education,” he said.

Towards the realisation of this, President Akufo-Addo told the Summit that Ghana was on course to guaranteeing access to education for all school-going children, evidenced by the allocation of 23 per cent of the national budget to education, adding that “it is one of the highest on the continent, and we intend to ramp it up even more.”

With the Free Senior High School policy resulting in some 400,000 more children getting access to Senior High School (SHS) education in Ghana, the President acknowledged that problems with infrastructure, and the challenges of inadequate classrooms were being addressed.

“So, in Ghana, we’ve taken the decision that we’re going full scale ahead now that we have widened public education at the secondary school level to all and sundry, to try and replicate it also at the tertiary level,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo continued, “Until recently, if you wanted to get a student’s loan in Ghana, you had to find a guarantor, somebody who would come and say, we’ve removed the guarantor requirement. If you have the Ghana National Card, you can now go on the basis of that you get the loan, which is also going to mean a significant expansion of education at the tertiary level.”

Describing these steps as “absolutely critical for our future,” the President noted that “if we don’t do it, we will not be able to get to our basic goal, which is a structural transformation of our economies… Lives and livelihoods are both the keys to the future for us and we will hopefully continue to do that.”

At the end of the Summit, international governments and corporations pledged to donate $4 billion for the Global Partnership for Education, which provides fair access to public education in 90 countries and territories that account for 80 per cent of children out of school.

The summit emphasized the importance of equitable access to education amid warnings that coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has exacerbated already under-resourced public education programmes in less economically developed countries. Experts alerted the organisation that it was unlikely for those forced out of schools due to the pandemic to return.


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